Water erosion control after fire

Page last updated: Thursday, 27 February 2020 - 1:42pm

Following a fire, the risk of water erosion is greatly increased on bare paddocks. The main sources of water erosion are summer thunderstorms or early autumn storms before adequate vegetative groundcover develops in autumn and winter. 

First steps after a fire

Fire removes vegetative groundcover which provides some protection against water and wind erosion. To reduce the likelihood and impact of water erosion on bare ground:

  • minimise vehicle and livestock traffic on bare ground: detached soil is much more susceptible to erosion
  • check and repair – if necessary – any upslope surface water management structures.

At the break of season

In the following year

Identify any areas that had water erosion following the fire, and plan and build water erosion control earthworks.

Areas at risk

Areas at greatest risk from water erosion following a fire include:

  • steep slopes below firebreaks
  • access tracks and rocky areas
  • changes of grade in creeklines
  • along access tracks where slopes are traversed
  • at culverts
  • anywhere there is existing or past erosion. 

Problems from water erosion after a fire

These problems are mostly the same as for any water erosion:

Being prepared for fire

We recommend that dealing with water erosion after a fire is part of a farm plan that includes fire and whole-farm water management.

For more information see bushfire survival plans for landholders

Contact information

Paul Findlater
+61 (0)8 9956 8535
Tim Overheu
+61 (0)8 9892 8533